The XFCE 4 desktop environment is one of the most customizable and versatile desktop environments to use on all of Linux. You’ll have a hard time finding a desktop that can do as much as it can do.
One of the best features of the XFCE 4 desktop is its robust wallpaper options. With little effort, you can transform a ho-hum Linux desktop with a static wallpaper to an incredible slideshow of wallpapers that change automatically.
In this guide, we’ll show you how to configure your XFCE 4 desktop environment to use the more advanced wallpaper functions it offers, like automatic wallpaper changing and more.
Automatically change wallpapers in XFCE
The wallpaper settings in XFCE 4 are where you’d expect. To access them, start by minimizing all of the open windows on the desktop. From there, right-click on a space to open up the right-click menu. Inside of the right-click menu, find the “Desktop Settings” option, and click on it with the mouse. By selecting this option, you can load up the XFCE desktop settings area.
In the “Desktop Settings” window, you will see a robust set of options that allow you to configure the wallpaper. You can also access the wallpaper settings by opening up the XFCE 4 settings menu and clicking on the “Desktop” option.
Locate the “Background” tab, and click on it if it is not automatically selected.
Note: are you new to XFCE? For more information on the wallpaper settings area, check out this article on the subject.
Once in the “Background” area, follow the step-by-step instructions below to set up automatic wallpaper changing on your XFCE 4 desktop environment.
Step 1: Open up the Linux file manager on the desktop. Then, once it is open, create a new folder in the “Pictures” directory with the name of “wallpapers.” Your wallpapers must be separated into this folder, as it will make slideshows much simpler.
Step 2: Using the Linux file manager, grab as many wallpaper images as you like and place them into the newly created “wallpapers” folder.
If you need help finding high-quality wallpapers, consider checking out Unsplash.com, they have a large collection of HD wallpapers, many of which are created by expert photographers.
Step 3: Once all wallpaper files are in the “wallpapers” directory in the “Pictures” folder, the slideshow setup can begin. Click on the “Desktop” window to go back to the XFCE 4 desktop settings area.
Once in the desktop settings area, locate the “Folder” menu, and click on the down arrow next to it. When you click on the down arrow, a menu will appear. Using the menu, click on the “Other” button.
Step 4: When you click on the “Other” button in the “Folder” menu, an open file dialog box will appear. Using this dialog box, search for the “wallpapers” folder inside “Pictures” that you placed all of your wallpaper files into previously. Click the “Open” button to add the folder to XFCE 4, so it may use it as the primary source for wallpapers on the desktop.
Step 5: Locate the “Change the background” button, and click on it to select it. By selecting this box, you will enable the feature in XFCE 4 that allows wallpaper changing.
Step 6: Find the “in minutes” button, and click on it. From here, you can configure how and when the wallpaper will change. For best results, be sure to check the “Random Order” box, as it will give a lot more variety in the wallpaper changes.
When you’ve set up the “Change the background” area, click on “Close” in the bottom right-hand corner. Your settings should automatically save.
Change wallpapers with two monitors
Not everyone who uses XFCE only has one monitor. Some have dual monitors and still want to have the wallpaper automatically. In this section, we’ll show you how to do it.
Step 1: First, minimize all windows on both screens. Both screens must not have any windows on the screen, as the right-click menu needs to be accessible.
Step 2: Go to the first screen on your dual monitor setup and right-click on the desktop. Then, select the “Desktop Settings” option. By selecting “Desktop Settings” on this monitor, you will be able to access the wallpaper settings for this screen only.
Step 3: Follow steps 1-6 in the previous section of this tutorial to set up automatic wallpaper changing on this monitor.
Step 4: Go to the other monitor and right-click on the desktop. Then, select “Desktop Settings” in the right-click menu to access the wallpaper settings for that screen only.
Step 5: Follow steps 1-6 in the previous section of this tutorial to set up automatic wallpaper changing on the second selected monitor.
Once both monitors are set up for automatic wallpaper changing in XFCE 4, your desktop should independently change wallpapers on all screens. Enjoy!